Introduction Background: Optimal patient preparation for colonoscopy is shown to improve polyp detection in the colon. In Japan, it is widely accepted practice to administer a mucolytic agent prior to gastroscopy to improve visualisation of the upper gastrointestinal tract. There is a paucity of robust UK studies which describe optimal methods of preparation prior to gastroscopy. The current variations in UK practice have not been quantified. Aims: To investigate current practice in patient preparation prior to gastroscopy across the UK.
Methods A list of all Hospitals in the UK was obtained from the JAG website (391). Hospitals that did not perform endoscopy were excluded (14), as were Children's Hospitals (5) and private hospitals (165). The number of hospitals included was 207. A structured telephone survey was conducted with each endoscopy unit. The method of preparation prior to gastroscopy was established.
Results 193 (93%) endoscopy units responded to the survey. 11 (5%) endoscopy units declined to participate in the survey and 3 (2%) of endoscopy units did not respond. Preparation prior to gastroscopy (%) included:
1. 6 h nil by mouth (NBM) to food or clear fluids (38%)
2. 6 h NBM to food and NBM to clear fluids for 2 h (26%)
3. NBM to food and clear fluids from midnight for morning lists with 6 h NBM for afternoon lists (13%)
4. Nine different methods of preparation accounted for the remaining 23% of hospitals.
No hospital used a mucolytic drink for routine gastroscopy cases.
Conclusion Current gastroscopy preparation regimes vary across the UK. Future studies should evaluate which preparation regime provides the best possible visualisation of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Competing interests None declared.
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